We caught up with Anil Chawla himself (yes, the one and only) to see what he's been up to, what he's up to now, and what he's going to be up to in the near future.. Phew!
A very good day to you Mr Chawla, how are you on this hot summers day?
And a very good day to you! I'm doing grand thanks. Just sorting out music for the upcoming weekend, and deciding what to have for lunch - sausage and eggs is currently coming up trumps.
Tell us about your love affair with Michael Jackson?
I've always been a fan of MJ, but when I was 12, I was lucky enough to see the 'Dangerous' tour at Wembley. I have vivid memories of sitting on my cousin's shoulders so I could see over the crowd, and Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk with 'Billie Jean' blasting out. There's no turning back after an experience like that. I still have the ticket stub knocking around somewhere.
So what song is it that really gets you going? From which MJ era?
The whole 'Thriller' album gets played at my flat at least once a week. A masterpiece from start to finish. Also, 'Man In The Mirror' is a definite favourite too.
You have a side project with Dale Anderson & Tim Davidson, what are you guys getting up to at the moment?
Under our DAT Soundsystem guise, we've been DJing together as residents at The Gallery for just over a year now, and more recently been producing under the name - we've have had 4 single releases on Nick Warren's Hope Recordings this year, and more to come in the pipeline. We're all very close friends so it's great fun to DJ together, and we'll be back on 27th August to kick off the bank holiday weekend.
Is this something you are going to pursing or are you focusing more on you progressing as a solo artist?
I think both work hand in hand for us. We've all got our solo careers on the go, but it's nice to come together and make some sounds which have all of our influences. Much like a melting pot of musical mash.
I say no more:
Describe the strangest afterparty that you have ever been to?
Probably the 'Men's Factrory' in Lithuania, which unsurprisingly is a gay club. Literally everything in that club was shaped like a penis - from door handles, to the ashtrays, to the beer pumps, and they had massive dongs with wings hanging from the ceiling… You couldn't get away from it!
Can you enlighten us into the life and times of Anil?
To sum it up… I was born and grew up in Kent, and moved to Southampton when I was 18 to go to university. I got a degree in Accountancy that I've never really used. I moved to London in 2004, landed a residency at Turnmills, worked for a few years alongside music at the weekends, and subsequently quit my job to go full-time music around 18 months ago. I also just turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, but any signs of settling/slowing down are certainly not on the horizon (one would hope). As for anything else interesting in my life? Erm, my Mum's an extra in Eastenders!
Do you have a nickname?
A lot of my mates call me 'Amo'. It's a name that has stuck since I was at school and only came up because someone mispronounced my name (alas, not because they thought I was full of ammunition).
You know the club team quite well, how would you sum them up?
A thoroughly nice, lively bunch!
So word on the grapevine is that you are moving to Goa, how when and why?!?
Well, myself and Dale have been thinking about it for a while now. We're essentially going to test the water for 6 months and tour around Asia. Goa is a good hub for this and it'll give us some time to get away from big city life, concentrate on a follow-up album, and get stuck into some new sounds. We've also both performed in India a few times and there's an amazing emerging scene there right now.
What finalised the decision for you?
The temptation to live by the beach and write music… It's the way forward!
How would you describe the relationship between Global Underground and yourself?
It's been really good, and they've fully supported what myself and Dale have been doing. It was great to release and artist album on GU and we even got to compile and mix a CD for their 'GU Mixed' series. Also, being on the tours roster has been amazing, and I've had the chance to play all over the world at some pretty amazing clubs like Cocoon in Frankfurt, and Pacha in Buenos Aires
Do you feel that a lot of your success is down to the label?
Yes. It's essential to get in with the right labels. You can have a really good track, sign it to a shit label, and it really won't go anywhere because they don't promo it properly - I've seen it happen before with my own stuff, unfortunately.
Your productions are current receiving a lot of attention, have you got anything coming up on the horizon?
Quite a bit on at the moment - A Tears For Fears remake of 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World' I've just remixed has just come out on Star 69. I've just signed to Toolroom, and I've got an EP coming up on Funkagenda's new label, 'Funk Farm' as well as a collaboration with Funkagenda himself on the horizon. New remixes coming up for Great Stuff and Crossflow Recordings too.
What influences you?
Dale's musical production skills are amazing so he's great to work in the studio with. As for DJs, I did a 2 week tour with Jim Rivers a while ago, and I really rate what he does.
Who would you say your style is most similar to?
I know it's a bit cliche, but it's really hard to pin down a particular name, as I love so many different types of music… From the really ambient, downtempo vibes, right through to dark 5am tripped out techno.
What tune do you enjoy playing the most and/or receives the best reaction?
At the moment, 'Keep On' by Da Lukas is great. Great Todd Terry sample and a relentless groove.
Lastly, Billy Bear turkey or Domino’s pizza?
Tough tough choice… How about a Domino's Margarita with a healthy topping of Billy Bear? Everyone's happy!
Mr Chawla will be hitting up the decks this Saturday 31st July in the Box at Ministry of Sound. Get the low-down here.